Home Community Wing Luke “Resisters” Exhibit

Wing Luke “Resisters” Exhibit

By David Yamaguchi The North American Post

The Wing Luke Museum’s exhibit on WWII Japanese American “resisters” opened Oct. 15. It concerns historic protests to the incarceration and their relevance to current events.

The slow pace at which I walked through its several rooms on two visits, taking photos throughout, says much about how much I was impressed. I was reminded that artists can do much to tell a complex story and make it approachable to the museum visitor who walks in from the street.

Henry Sugimoto, “Reverend Yamasaki was beaten in Camp Jerome,” oil on canvas, 1943. The Issei pastor had translated the loyalty questionnaire to Japanese at the request of the camp administration. Perhaps the youth perceived him as a collaborator. Courtesy of the Japanese American National Museum.

The exhibit uses multiple modalities — historic photos, historical paintings and drawings (or good replicas thereof), artifacts, wall-mounted video, and modern artwork.
Whether you are new to the topic of JA incarceration or well versed in it, just go see the new exhibit, for what might be learned from it.

Kenji Ima, “I have a memory of going to Puyallup, which was called ‘Camp Harmony’. … I remember sitting on my mother’s lap. … It was scary… she’s not happy because she does not know what’s going to happen. … And so her sense of fear affected me. … I don’t know exactly when I first had the dream, but the fear that I felt occurs in this dream… I would wake up sweating. … I had this dream for years, up to the age of ten or more. …”
Na Omi Judy Shintani, “Dream Refuge for Children Imprisoned.” Mixed media, 2019. Photos: DY
Chiura Obata, “Hatsuki (sic) Wakasa Shot by M.P.,” painting reproduction, 1943. In April 1943, Wakasa was walking his dog near the fence at the Topaz Camp, Utah, when he was killed. The event has been the subject of recent headlines, as the monument erected onsite for Wakasa was recently excavated (napost.com, Sept – Oct 2021).
Previous articleNaomi Ishisaka: Forging Her Own Path
Next articleNew Poetry Book
David Yamaguchi is a third-generation Japanese American [Sansei]. He has written for the Post since 2006, at first as a volunteer, later as a paid freelancer. He joined the paper's staff in May 2020, when he began learning how articles flow from Word files through layout to social media.